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3 pm Aug 01, 2013

Suspension of IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal

Can an honest bureaucrat survive the Indian political system?
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16 questions answered | 7 questions pending
  • JUST NOW A news that the UP CM has justified action against the Officer.He would have done this in Consultation with the Chief secretary ? Should now the process of departmental Enquiry be allowed to get completed ?? Is it now an internal matter of the Government ?/ Asked by: sundar1950in
  • Shailaja Chandra if there is justification on the file, that justification would have to be shared with the Department of personnel within 45 days. If it does not hold water, I cannot see how something can be justified if it does not carry with it a verifiable account of what happened.
  • The action against Durga Nagpal is justified ? What message it spread among st the cadres. Asked by: Satya
  • Shailaja Chandra I have just replied this question.
  • Is it difficult to work in Muslim Dominated Areas where you have to face political pressure? Asked by: Lakshmi
  • Shailaja Chandra the fact that there may be communal tension if something one has to be prepared for. But it is all so the duty of an officer to try and overcome any tendency to highlight the communal aspect. Officers are expected to be complete the impervious to these kinds of pulls and pressures and to see that the writing is done. This may sound like lecturing but in our young days, there was so much tension in the walled city and elsewhere and I realise what minute preparations used to be made to ensure that nothing untoward happened. The civil and police administration worked like one and there was no question of the system trying to communalise a situation.that was many years ago and for younger officers today this can be an additional challenge but it has to be faced and not avoided.
  • What can be Durga Shakti Nagpal next step to defend herself now after CM Akhilesh has suppported her suspension? Asked by: Praneeth
  • Shailaja Chandra she needs to do nothing at all – except eat a minute to minute record of what happened with as much corroborating evidence to support the case. Decisions take time but in the end she will be vindicated, a suspension will be revoked and she will once again be given a posting – perhaps something that may not have the direct sale of authority and power but you can still do so much no matter which department it is. She should just stick it in her stride and stay away from publicity.
  • mam whats the solution to durga... any place for honesty? Asked by: ramaraju
  • Shailaja Chandra I have just replied that
  • Doesn't this affect the though process of other IAS officers? Specially freshers who are about to join. Asked by: Praneeth
  • Shailaja Chandra yes this kind of thing affects freshers who would like to join the civil services will stop the children of most IAS officers and in that I would count almost 95% do not become IAS officers. That is because children watch their parents and see what they go through and deep down they see the humiliation that comes at times and the problems that their parents have to face almost on a daily basis.
  • Why BJP or any other party is not coming to support her? Asked by: Praneeth
  • Shailaja Chandra I really find this very odd. All political parties should have come out to castigate what has happened but there responses on television at least and certainly in the print media are quite invisible. Perhaps it is because they think to gather when it comes to limitations versus bureaucrats. They cannot do without bureaucrats but they are suspicious of them and distrust them unless they kowtow completely to their wishes and wants as a rule. Instead of using civil servants to give correct advise what they would like is civil servants who gives the advise they wish to hear. The less said the better.
  • She was merely following court orders. Isnt the action of UP govt is a complete contempt of court orders and punishable? If yes how can the akhilesh yadav could be prosicuted against court, can court summon him and ask for an explanation? Asked by: Harvey Dent
  • Shailaja Chandra I have answered that in the earlier question. Courts are unlikely to take suo Motu cognizance of such cases but certainly the central government can come down heavily on what has been happening what has happened.
  • After this incident with this IAS officer, I am sure, there would be plenty of well wishers of Durga, who will advice her to keep low profile in the future, and do not interfere and try to stop corruption. I see a trend here, there are officers who get consumed to such advices and some who fight back. Those getting consumed, are a loss to the nation. What is your view on this? Asked by: Manish
  • Shailaja Chandra you are right that once you are thrown out by the system and no one stands up for you, you lick your wounds privately but either succumb to pressure the next time around or simply go and sulk. However the service career of every officer is 30 to 35 years long. There are always cycles when you are up or you go down. It is not possible that you will always and for ever be put on the shelves. Even in any job that is given to you you can make a huge difference. My advises not to look after look for jobs which are glamorous but to find a way of making the most unseen and unheard of jobs into something visible and important. That is what officers are meant to and they should start doing that.
  • why are bureaucrats often targeted for being honest to the people and its government? when will if at all see changes in a politicians mind regarding issues like this Asked by: suresh
  • Shailaja Chandra the whole problem comes because politics has been criminalised. Once criminals used to fund political parties but now criminals actually stand for election and win and become members of legislative assemblies, members of Parliament and even ministers. Once that happens, there is really no way that anyone will stand up for honest people. The whole effort is to marginalise and humiliate honest officers and there are enough incompetent and dishonest officers willing to do the bidding come what may. To start that we must first have electoral reforms and eliminate criminals from entering politics. We also need all kinds of reforms on political Finance about which I wrote in the Hindu News newspaper the lead article on 22nd of July this year. Do read it.
  • Why are the IAS associations at state and national level not coming forward more emphatically in the favour of honest officers like Ms Durga? Asked by: Rohit
  • Shailaja Chandra I think the associations are making an effort because I did see in the newspapers and on television that they have made a noise before the Central government. I doubt if anyone in the home state is going to be bothered with such representations. The IAS Association is as strong as its leaders decide to be. In my time, I was the secretary of the IAS Association for over three years and the President was for most of the time Mr Naresh Chandra Ho never allowed nonsense to go on and thought nothing of picking up the telephone and blasting people who did wrong things. He used his position as Home Secretary and Cabinet secretary to the hilt and we need more officers with that kind of spine.
  • has there be any reforms in recent past with regards to civil servant bureaucrat relations? has supreme court ever commented on this issue. I think it is high time that bureaucracy is shielded from criminal politicians. a via media like civil services personnel board could be worked out to deal with posting, transfers, suspensions of civil servants Asked by: bhaz
  • Shailaja Chandra yes there have been so many recommendations made by the committees appointed by the central government and by the second administrative reforms commission to set up a civil services authority both at the Centre and the States so that decisions on promotions/transfers and career progression are not taken by politicians but by an independent body – something like the public service commissions. We hear that a bill is in the offing but we have been hearing that for too long. Civil society and right minded people must demand that the civil services authority independent of the government in power should decide about postings/transfers of IAS and other civil servants.
  • So much for the esprit de corps ?? Infact the whole Bureaucracy is rotten and they prey on any honest officer as a zombie - to turn them into their own type. If any one resists then he/she is haunted like Ashok Khemka aur killed by mafia. Ma'am since you have seen the system from inside, what suggestions do you have for uplifting the society and Bureaucrats from their moral abyss???? Asked by: A Frustrated Citizen
  • Shailaja Chandra I think that all senior officers should feel shaken by what has happened. They should decide that the collective opinion of society at large is more important than what the friends, enemies and a few members of the public think of their strutting around in government cars and government houses just to show off and be the envy of a few people. If they all stand up together nothing will go wrong but what is needed is strong leadership and for a few people at the top to give the message that enough is enough. Others have too not be available to step into the shoes simply to be able to wave a flag. There is very little esprit de corps today but I am glad in one sense that these incidents will either bring the IAS and other services together or we will have no public administration. I cannot imagine that country as strong as India would let that happen.
  • Madam, the suspension of Durga Shakti Nagpal is an indication of how the bureaucracy is pitted against the might of the Political dispensation. What advice would you give to such young bureaucrats in dealing with such precarious situations? Asked by: Sunil Menon
  • Shailaja Chandra I am certain that had senior officers recorded in writing that the facts and circumstances including her position as a very young officer did not call for suspension, no one would have overruled them. I really doubt that anything was pointed out and in case it was then it is for the officers to refuse to carry out a regular orders. I think it is time that senior officers stood up together to shun proximity to political power and run after money and prestige. If officers collectively behave like that no one would dare to do wrong things and certainly the public interest would be preserved far far better than it is today.
  • Whether the honest officers like Durga really get any support from center as the center itself is having corrupt politicians? And what about the security of these kind of people after this case is forgotten by the public? Asked by: Girish Kalagond
  • Shailaja Chandra I have answered part of your question above. As far as security is concerned it is not an issue at all. No one would dare harm her physically and if she shows the kind of guts she has shown already people would be very scared to go anywhere near her – the wrong kind of people. For some time she will be put on the shelves but she will get restored with glory before long.
  • What options does Durga Shakthi have when facts reveal that she had not ordered the illegal wall around mosque to be brought down and that it was brought down voluntarily by the people who built it. It was only a pretext for her action against the sand mafia. It sends strong signals to other honest officials what would happen if they "overstep" Asked by: T T KRishnan
  • Shailaja Chandra it is important for Durga to maintain a strict record minute to minute of what happened. This matter will have to be probed by the Central government and if wrong facts have been added subsequently, she will be completely protected.

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Shailaja Chandra
Former chief secretary, Delhi